Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Monday, September 15, 2008


CYNARA (1932). Director: King Vidor.

"I have been faithful to thee, Cynara, in my fashion."

Jim Warlock (Ronald Colman) is happily married to Clemency (Kay Francis, pictured), who is out of town traveling with her sister, when he meets a pretty young woman, Doris (Phyllis Barry), in a cafe. The two drift into an affair, which eventually results in scandal and tragedy. While this is a slight film, it boasts good performances, especially from Barry and Colman and the always-wonderful Henry Stephenson as Jim's friend, John. Normally the unfaithful spouse is not too sympathetic, but Colman actually manages to be quite moving, and the ending is effective. What the film needs is another half hour of running time and deeper characterizations.

According to Lawrence J. Quirk in The Films of Ronald Colman, Colman was nervous about playing an adulterer, and while the film got good reviews, Colman's fans did not care for him in such a part. Quirk also writes that "it was a novel idea in 1932 that occasional infidelity in a marriage could be countenanced and forgiven if all other aspects of the union were favorable."

Verdict: Minor but definitely has its moments. **1/2.

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